• Lawsuit claims Daytona Beach roller coaster should not have been operating before crash

    By: Mike Springer , James Tutten

    Updated:

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Sand Blaster roller coaster has sat idle since a crash that injured 10 riders 11 months ago.

    Some residents are now calling the abandoned coaster “the eyesore on the seashore.”

    There were 10 people on the ride when the front car came off the tracks. Two people fell about 35 feet, two others had to be rescued from a dangling car and firefighters used tower trucks to rescue six others.


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    A new lawsuit is now claiming the roller coaster never should have been operating the day of the crash.

    The owner of the property claims in the lawsuit he terminated the lease with the operators of the roller coaster in March 2018, but for some reason it was still running on the tracks when it derailed three months later.

    It's hard to miss the rusted track and faded paint on the Sand Blaster roller coaster. It sits empty and idle on Daytona Beach's Boardwalk as trash piles up around it.

    “It looks bad, you know,” said Daytona Beach resident Steve Daly. “It's all rusted out. Tear it down.”

    WFTV obtained records from the state showing the coaster failed its inspections in February 2017, May 2017 and again a month before the derailment, in June 2018.

    The issues ranged from damaged bolts to cracked bracing and corrosion.

    A lawsuit filed this month by attorneys representing the owner of the property against owners of the roller coaster claims the lease was terminated and the roller coaster should have been taken down by March, three months before the crash.

    The lawsuit demands the operators dismantle what remains of the roller coaster and remove it from the property.

    Calls to the property owner and roller coaster owners were not returned.

    The Department of Agriculture said the ride is not permitted and cannot operate.

    Meanwhile, the 44-year-old roller coaster continues to rust away.

    “There's something about here where we just let things sit and rot,” said Daytona Beach resident Jenny Nazak. “It's not acceptable.”

    The so-called eyesore is one that people on the beach must reluctantly accept for now.

    The law firm Morgan and Morgan represents nine of the 10 people injured in the derailment. The office said their clients continue to recover from injuries, as they continue to explore all their legal options.

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